Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary
















August 23, 2017


Happy 47th Birthday, Tara Madison Avery!

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Happy 65th Birthday, Terry Austin!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Chris Bachalo!

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August 22, 2017


Go, Look: Benjamin Williams

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Comics People Bringing Home The Awards And Such

* congratulations to Jeff Smith on winning the Sparky Award from the Cartoon Art Museum (not sure there's a direct link there, but scroll down to August 16). It goes to an artist that matches namesake Charles "Sparky" Schulz's "talent, innovation and humanity." Past winners include Carl Barks, Will Eisner, John Lasseter, Stan Lee and Mort Walker.

image* congratulations to Miriam Libicki on being the new writer in residence at the Vancouver Public Library and on having Toward A Hot Jew being shortlisted for a Vine Award For Jewish Literature, in non-fiction.

* congratulations to this awesome pair of folks at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum: Wendy Pflug, on being granted tenure; Caitlin McGurk, on receiving her Award In Teaching Excellence.
 
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Go, Look: MAD Staffers In Tahiti

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Missed It: Anti-SLAPP Issue Between Ted Rall And Tribune Media Went Against Rall On August 4

This article provides what seems like a pretty fair timeline as to what's been going on in Ted Rall's case against the LA Times and various individuals and companies related to a decision to no longer use him as a freelancer in Summer 2015.

It looks like the recent dramatic Anti-SLAPP motion that required a significant amount of money be raised to secure a potential negative outcome, a motion against which Rall himself argued in court as he was between legal representatives, and one the cartoonist and essayis believe has been used in exploitative fashion by large corporations, it looks like that has gone against Rall in an initial ruling. Rall plans to appeal.

Rall wrote about his view of the legal and ethical issues in question before this August 4 decision in a blog post.

There's a lot to this case and I think those of interested in freelance opinion-making should pay attention to the decisions as they come out. I'm surprised this is the first I've read about a result that's now more than two weeks old, but that's probably due to my occasional poor skill with tracking legal material.

I think we may be committed for a while yet. Rall has legal representation once again and seems to be consistent in saying he will appeal the motions that he loses and press forward on those remaining. There's this kind of concurrent dorm-room-logic version of the case that's been running parallel to the unfolding of how the claims bear up legally, certain issues into which I'd like to wait and dig at a much later if not final stage of the legal process. Knowing my success with predicting court cases, this one will probably wind up on Thursday.
 
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Go, Look: GMOs Are Making An Agricultural Crisis In India Even Worse

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Assembled Extra: Joe McCulloch Leaving TCJ's This Week In Comics Column

Joe "Jog" McCulloch will announce today he'll be suspending his deservedly lauded "This Week In Comics" column at TCJ.com. McCulloch has done the column for years and years (it's archived at TCJ back to 2012), grafting an essay on any number of topics but usually super-eclectic comics onto to breezy declarations about that week's books arriving in comic book stores. McCulloch's work is certainly the best regular thing about comics on-line at the moment; it's one of the top five extended efforts ever in critical writing about comics. I would not argue with anyone who thought it best.

Next week's column will be the last one.

McCulloch plans to continue writing about comics, although he's not certain for whom. "I don't know where I'll write," he told me in a brief e-mail exchange this morning. "I'll do a few occasional pieces for the Journal, at least until [editors] Tim [Hodler] & Dan [Nadel] are gone."

Tim Hodler expressed his admiration the column which also ran at Comics Comics, the on-line magazine Hodler co-edited before TCJ. "I've been editing Joe McCulloch's work for almost exactly a decade, since he contributed a short piece on Mutt & Jeff to the third print issue of Comics Comics," he told CR. :Outside of a small handful of exceptions, by 'editing,' I mostly mean correcting the occasional typo and having the much-relished opportunity to read his work before it's published. Of those writing and publishing regularly, he is easily the most consistent, most wide-ranging, and most thoughtful North American comics critic of the century so far. I can already feel the void that will be left in his absence, and am selfishly impatient to read him again whenever he comes back from his well-deserved rest."

It sounds like future writing may be more traditional than the hybrid column. "I want to rebuild my energies toward firmly critical writing in the one-book-at-a-time sense," he says. There's some definite committed-to work on the immediate horizon, mixed in with the probable. "A few print venues will still have me; I'm in the next Critical Chips. Hell, I might even try blogging again someday; it's a compulsion. But I really need to rest for a while." He also hinted at some comics scripting work potentially, in the form of a completed script in an artist's hands.

McCulloch is also probably the best of the writers talking about comics, and one hopes that his podcast appearances on his own show and on others will continue.

Congratulations to McCulloch for this incredible run. I look forward to anything he does next. I hope all his work is as satisfying and rewarding to do as it is to read.

Update: Tim Hodler points out that previous iterations of the column are on-line as well, at least in part, at Comics Comics and at McCulloch's own site.
 
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Go, Look: Your Trump TV guide

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

image* a 13th volume of Lapinot is worthy of its own article in the French mainstream media. The everyman and his everyfriends make an appearance in modern-day France with this album.

* over at The New Yorker, Alexandra Lange catches up with No Small Plans in the rollout stage of its publication process.

* Mark Schultz talked potential Xenozoic Tales work in his recent Comic Book Creator interview: first a 64-page stand-alone, and if that works a potential 120-page plus conclusion to a long, left-hanging story arc from the original series. This would take several years, and I hope things work out that we get to see it. That was a giant series of its time.

* it's easy to forget in this day of crowdfunding that anthologies supported that way are also publishing news, as is the case with the Planned Parenthood benefit book supported here.

* finally, looks like Matthew Rosenberg has a project coming out featuring the Punisher character created by Gerry Conway, John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru.
 
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OTBP: Greek Diary

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Go, Look: Joe Staton + Bob Smith Plastic Man Splashes

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the fifth issue of American Bystander, that comics-friendly humor magazine, is nearing the end of its crowd-funding campaign.

image* Irene Velentzas on The Customer Is Always Wrong. Sean Gaffney on Queen Emeraldas Vol. 2.

* someone asked me if I could pull lessons for comics from this article about paying traditionally low-level wage retail jobs at a much higher rater, but I couldn't get past how relatively high to comics the national averages were for two of those types of job in order to figure out how the two industries might compare.

* this article's ability to comment on a comics industry thing should be much more plain.

* there are now some details about DC's latest plunge into the intellectual property aspects of Watchmen for use in serial pulpy superhero punch-ups. DC has probably paid more in terms of higher-end comics professionals taking them off the table as an option than they've benefited from the product they've created. If the plot as some have asserted suggests that Watchmen was the spearpoint of a cynical vanguard that ruined hopeful superhero comics, I'm going to have fun this Fall repeatedly kicking that notion in the dick.

* finally, RC Harvey remembers the late Dick Locher. I haven't read that essay yet, but I'm sure given their ages, interests and long-time regional proximity that's a personal loss for Bob as it has been for so many people.
 
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August 21, 2017


Go, Read: Mildred

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Go, Read: Nate Piekos On Tendinitis

Here. It's heartbreaking for the story of it and heartening in the warning of it.

Cartooning encompasses a variety of professions many of which drive their practitioners toward a number of subtle physical hazards. I hope that everyone pays attention to those matters. In a wider sense, away from the unique wrist and hand and neck risks that cartoonists take, we all know that to one degree or another a life spent sitting while working (likely overworking) is an accelerant towards impairment and death.
 
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Go, Look: Would You Run 2000 Miles to Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline?

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Festivals Extra: Linework NW Suspends Indefinitely

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Announcement through the link in the image.

I remain very fond of this show, spearheaded by Zack Soto and Francois Vigneault after the alt-/arts- community in Portland making a break away from a broader, more "indy"-oriented Stumptown Comics Fest. I thought Linework NW had a great vibe and specific-neighborhood feel, the venue was great, and that its inclusion of illustrators gave it a special boost. Any chance to visit Portland is a welcome one. I liked the parties, official and unofficial. I liked the breakfast options.

What Linework seemed to lack in this initial iteration was second-stage investment cash, making it very dependent on its community of volunteers and its organizers. Linework NW also, and I could be wrong about this, but in its first run of years Linework never quite seemed to evince that special extra 10 percent of need from its attendees or pros. That could just be laid-back Portland, but it just sort of seemed when the show was touch and go that the community could deal with "go," without it being there. The loss of similar shows in other cities might take that place off of the alt-comics map, period, but not comics-rich Portland. That's a hunch; I could be wrong.

My hope is that someone might step in for 2018 or 2019 with a little bit of cash and/or a whole lot of time and/or a plan that gets that city's comics culture and can take the show to the next level both organizationally and in terms of separating it conceptually from others, like the Rose City show where the other half of the old Stumptown festival community found root, or Seattle's Short Run up the road, whose dissolution would seem a greater loss to individual cartoonists in that great comics city. I'm not waiting up at night. I know how fragile these shows can be, how tough it is to sustain things past the initial magical weekend.
 
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Go, Look: "Wake Up, America! Terrorism Is Here!"

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

image* haven't checked back in on this Comic Art Workshop in a while; they've passed their first goal. Sounds like a noble project and with that many artists involved there are multiple entry point and reward possibilities.

* here's a benefit comics for Planned Parenthood.

* here's a Drew Ford-initiated project featuring the late Sam Glanzman.

* here's this week's person that wrote in and I did manage to see it and I've included it here. They promise and all-female main cast and all-female artists working on the project, which I know is something for which many of you watch out.

* Critical Chips 2 may have reached its goal by the time you read this. The first one was very well-regarded.

* this art book featuring Mike Ploog and Simon Bisley has pushed past its initial ask.

* finally, CR readers pick Patreons they think worthy of support. We're building a resource post on this site.
 
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OTBP: The Man Who Came Down The Attic Stairs

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through September 2017

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*****

August 24
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (WW)

August 25
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (Amazing! Hawaii Comic Con)

August 26
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (Amazing! Hawaii Comic Con)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

August 27
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (Amazing! Hawaii Comic Con)

*****

September 1
* If I Were In Atlanta, I Would Go To This (Dragon Con)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This (San Francisco Comic Con)
* If I Were In Brussels, I'd Go To This (Brussels Comic Strip Festival)

September 2
* If I Were In Atlanta, I Would Go To This (Dragon Con)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This (San Francisco Comic Con)
* If I Were In Brussels, I'd Go To This (Brussels Comic Strip Festival)

September 3
* If I Were In Atlanta, I Would Go To This (Dragon Con)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This (San Francisco Comic Con)
* If I Were In Brussels, I'd Go To This (Brussels Comic Strip Festival)

September 4
* If I Were In Atlanta, I Would Go To This (Dragon Con)

September 8
* If I Were In Nashville, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Durham, I'd Go To This

September 9
* If I Were In Nashville, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (STAPLE!)

September 10
* If I Were In Nashville, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (STAPLE!)

September 16
* If I Were In Bethesda, I'd Go To This (SPX)
* If I Were In Memphis, I'd Go To This (Memphis Comic Expo)

September 17
* If I Were In Bethesda, I'd Go To This (SPX)
* If I Were In Memphis, I'd Go To This (Memphis Comic Expo)

September 18
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

September 19
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In Providence, I'd Go To This

September 20
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This

September 21
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In Pittsburgh, I'd Go To This

September 22
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Madison, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

September 23
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Madison, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In San Jose, I'd Go To This (APE)

September 24
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Madison, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In San Jose, I'd Go To This (APE)

September 28
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (CXC)

September 29
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (CXC)

September 30
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (CXC)
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (TCZF)

*****

Events For October 2017 Onward Listed Here

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Adventures Into The Unknown #67

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Brian Nicholson on The Academic Hour. Todd Klein on a pair of sketchbook efforts. Jannon Callaway on Dark Nights: Metal #1. Robert Kirby on Greek Diary.

* go, work: Gosh London is accepting resumes until the end of the year.

* Todd Klein collects a bunch of photos of HG Peter in one place. I aspire to snapshot knowledge of the two dozen or so major superhero creators, but I'm not there yet.

* Sean Edgar talks to Christopher Golden. Steve Foxe talks to Aubrey Sitterson. John Siuntres talks to Pat Mills.

* a classic comics-culture article: what some cartoonists will miss about drawing a specific, now-gone political figure.

* finally, this is just terrifying-looking. Also, I'm not sure as an old-school Fantastic Four fan I like the power set extending into morphed creatures.
 
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Happy 42nd Birthday, Matt Emery!

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